Editorial Style Guide

When it comes to building a strong brand, consistency is key. That consistency should shine through in every element of the South Dakota Mines brand—even the way we write. The editorial style guide below outlines the specific grammar and usage rules you should follow to keep your communications on-brand.

AP Versus Chicago Style

AP Style should be used with all media-related pieces such as press releases. Chicago Style is used for all formal publications, such as the Hardrock Magazine. Below is a compilation of common style questions, some of which are particular to the South Dakota Mines. For style questions, contact the media relations experts in Marketing & Communications at mediarelations@sdsmt.edu.

Titles and Names

Without a name
Without a name: In general reference, titles remain lowercase when a name is not used, such as university provost or Surbeck Center director.

Before a name
Titles are uppercased when they precede a name, e.g. Athletic Director Joel Lueken.

After a name
After a name: Titles are lowercased when following a name, e.g. Joel Lueken, athletic director of South Dakota Mines.

Note: Titles must be official titles in order to be capitalized, even if preceding the name. Lowercase descriptors of the type of job performed, e.g. groundskeeper Jane Doe.

Upon first reference to a person with a doctorate, use their full name and PhD (or Ph.D.), offset by commas, Upon first reference to a person with a doctorate, use their full name and PhD (or Ph.D. for AP style), offset by commas, after the name (e.g. John Smith, PhD, professor of . . .). Upon subsequent references, where AP is used, e.g. Hardrock, the person is referenced by their last name. Where Chicago style is used, e.g. commencement programs, use courtesy titles.

Academic Degrees

For bachelor of science, master of science, and doctor of philosophy, periods are used in AP style and are omitted in Chicago style.

AP: B.S., M.S., and Ph.D.
Chicago: BS, MS, and PhD

Don’t capitalize general references to degrees. When using as a possessive, an apostrophe is necessary, e.g. master’s degree or bachelor’s degree: South Dakota Mines offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. South Dakota Mines offers bachelor of science degrees.

Do not use periods in degree abbreviations, with the exception of news releases and media advisories, which follow AP Style.

General Composition Titles

AP: Put quotation marks around the names of all compositions except the Bible and books that are primarily catalogs of reference material, which are italicized. Do not use quotation marks around such software titles as Windows.

Use quotation marks for TV shows, songs, photos, books, films, plays, periodicals, works of art, and essays.

Chicago: Titles of books and periodicals are italicized; titles of articles, chapters, and other shorter works are enclosed in quotation marks.

Newspapers and Magazines

AP: Do not place in quotation marks. Capitalize “the” in the name if that is the way the publication prefers to be known. Lowercase “the” before names if listing several publications, some of which use “the” as part of the name and some of which do not: Time, Newsweek, the Washington Post, and the New York Times.

Where location is needed but not part of the official name, use parentheses: The Huntsville (Ala.) Times, The Toledo (Ohio) Blade.

Chicago: Periodicals are italicized and capitalized headline-style. Articles are placed in quotation marks.

Names of the University, Its Buildings, Centers, and Programs

University Name

On first reference, always use the full marketing name of our university: South Dakota Mines. On subsequent references, you may use Mines. Do not use former names or abbreviations of any kind e.g., Tech, SD Mines, SDSM&T, SDSMT.

Capitalize only the formal names of departments, institutes, schools, centers, and government agencies, e.g. South Dakota Mines; the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering compared to the civil and environmental engineering department.

Laboratories and Centers

Note: Abbreviations and acronyms of the following should be used only beginning on second reference and even then sparingly.

  • Additive Manufacturing Laboratory (AML)
  • Arbegast Materials Processing and Joining Laboratory (AMP)
  • Advanced Manufacturing Process Technology Transition & Training (AMPTEC)
  • BioSystems Networks & Translational Research (BioSNTR)
  • Center for Green Electric Power Generation and Storage (CEPS)
  • Composite and Nanocomposite Advanced Manufacturing – Biomaterials (CNAM Bio)
  • Composite and Nanocomposite Advanced Manufacturing (CNAM)
  • Composites and Polymer Engineering Laboratory (CAPE)
  • Direct Write Laboratory (DWL)
  • Engineering and Mining Experiment Station (EMES)
  • Experimental and Computational Mechanics Laboratory (ECML)
  • Martin Paleontology Research Laboratory (MPRL)
  • NSF Industry-University Cooperative Research Center (IUCRC)
  • Repair, Refurbish, and Return to Service Center (R3S)
  • Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF)
  • Security Printing and Anti-Counterfeiting Technology (SPACT)
  • Shimadzu Environmental Research Laboratory
  • Surface Engineering Research Center (SERC)

Campus Buildings

  • AMP Joining Laboratory
  • MET Foundary
  • Ascent Innovation
  • Chemical and Biological Engineering/Chemistry Building (CBEC)
  • Civil/Mechanical Building
  • Classroom Building
  • Connolly and Palmerton Halls
  • Devereaux Library
  • Electrical Engineering/Physics Building (EEP)
  • King Center
  • James E. Martin Paleontology Research Laboratory or Paleontology Research Laboratory (PRL)
  • March/Dayke Plaza
  • McLaury Building
  • Memorial Arch & Plaza
  • Mineral Industries Building (MI)
  • Music Center
  • O’Harra Building
  • O’Harra Stadium/Dunham Field
  • Peterson Hall
  • Placer Hall
  • Rocker Square I & II
  • CAPE Lab (off main campus)
  • Surbeck Center
  • Marketing & Communications

Departments and Offices

Capitalize only when using the full, proper name: e.g. Department of Mechanical Engineering or the mechanical engineering department; the Office of the President versus the president’s office. Use an ampersand with compound names: the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering. The word department should never be abbreviated.

Affiliated Organizational Names

Use South Dakota School of Mines & Technology Foundation on first reference; Foundation with a capital “F” is acceptable on subsequent references. The formal name of the alumni arm is the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology Alumni Association, with Alumni Association acceptable on subsequent references. Also, the Hardrock Club supports athletics.

Event names

Be mindful of the formal name of an event versus a descriptor. However, if the event recurs annually and has become known as part of the name it is acceptable to capitalize what might otherwise be called a descriptor. Generally speaking, formal names should be capitalized; descriptors should not.

SPE Alumni and Friends Social
Engineers Week
High Plains Regional Science and Engineering Fair

Typically, the word annual, however, is not capitalized as part of the formal name of the event. Annual will be a descriptor, e.g. 33rd annual Hardrocker Alumni Weekend. Do not use annual for a first event.

Titles of University Publications

Campus Master Plan and The Hardrock magazine are always capitalized. Note: The Hardrock is a trademarked name owned by the Alumni Association. When referring to the university’s athletic teams, use Hardrocker, e.g. The Hardrocker football team has joined a new conference.

On first reference, use Mines 2020: Strategic Plan and Vision; on subsequent references, use Mines 2020.

Word Choice in Higher Education

Faculty and staff are singular; the plural construction is faculty/staff members.


Gender and plural forms: Alumni include both men and women. The singular male is an alumnus; singular female is alumna. The plural of a group composed solely of women is alumnae.

School and year of degree

In text, graduates’ names may be followed with a parenthetical note of their department and last two digits of their graduation year; note no use of apostrophe, e.g. John Smith (EE 92).


No periods and all capitals. It is acceptable on first reference to either use GPA or to spell out grade point average (lowercase).

South Dakota Mines Description

As one of the nation’s leading engineering, science and technology universities, South Dakota Mines is at the forefront of what’s next. We’re curious. We’re tenacious. And we’ve got what it takes to change the world.

South Dakota Mines Hashtags

Use hashtags #SouthDakotaMines, #HardrockerStrong, and #HardrockerProud on social media posts whenever possible.

South Dakota Mines Majors

Abbreviations of majors on campus: Following is a comprehensive list of abbreviations for majors offered by South Dakota Mines. In many cases, these abbreviations will be used only in tabular materials.

MAA.GSTSDSMT General Studies (AA)M
MBS.ABSSDSMT Appl Biological Sci (BS)M
MBS.ACMSDSMT Appl/Computat Math (BS)M
MBS.BMESDSMT Biomed Engineering (BS)M
MBS.BTHSDSMT Business Mgmt Tech (BS)M
MBS.CEESDSMT Civil Engineering (BS)M
MBS.CEGSDSMT Computer Engineering(BS)M
MBS.CHGSDSMT Chemical Engineering(BS)M
MBS.CHG-BCESDSMT Chem Engr-Biochem (BS)M
MBS.CSCSDSMT Computer Science (BS)M
MBS.EESDSMT Electric Engineering(BS)M
MBS.ENRNo Degree in EngineeringM
MBS.EVEBS Environmental EngineeringM
MBS.GEESDSMT Geologic Engineering(BS)M
MBS.GEL-APGBS Geology-Applied GeologyM
MBS.GEL-ESSBS Geology-Earth System SciM
MBS.GEL-PALBS Geology-PaleontologyM
MBS.GSTBS General StudiesM
MBS.IDSBS Interdisciplinary ScienceM
MBS.IDS-ATPSDSMT Science-Atmospheric (BS)M
MBS.IDS-BASBS Inter Sci-Bus Appl Sci/TechM
MBS.IDS-PHNSDSMT Science-Preprof Hlth(BS)M
MBS.IDS-STSSDSMT Science-Tech/Society(BS)M
MBS.IEGSDSMT Industrial Engr/Mgmt(BS)M
MBS.IENSDSMT Industr Engineering (BS)M
MBS.MESDSMT Mechanic Engineering(BS)M
MBS.MEMBS Mining Engineering/MgmtM
MBS.MINSDSMT Mining Engineering (BS)M
MBS.MTHBS MathematicsM
MBS.MTLSDSMT Metal Engineering (BS)M
MBS.PHSNo Degree in Sci-PhysicalM
MCERTG.CEMSDSMT Construct/Engr Mgmt (CG)M
MCERTG.OCSSDSMT Occupational Safety (CG)M
MCERTG.SSGSDSMT Six Sigma Greenbelt (CG)M
MCERTU.EMLSDSMT Engr Mgmt/Leadership(CU)M
MCERTU.GLESDSMT Global Engr/Science (CU)M
MCERTU.SSGSDSMT Six Sigma Greenbelt (CU)M
MMENG.ENRSDSMT Engineering (MEng)M
MMS.AESSDSMT Atmosphere/Envir Sci(MS)M
MMS.ATPMS in Atmospheric ScienceM
MMS.BMESDSMT Biomed Engineering (MS)M
MMS.CEEMS in Civil EngineeringM
MMS.CEMSDSMT Construct/Engr Mgmt (MS)M
MMS.CEM.APSDSMT Constr/Engr Mgmt Acc(MS)M
MMS.CHGSDSMT Chemical Engineering(MS)M
MMS.CHG.APSDSMT Chemical Engr Acc (MS)M
MMS.CHMMS in ChemistryM
MMS.CMSDSMT Construction Mgmt (MS)M
MMS.CSCMS in Computer ScienceM
MMS.CSRSDSMT Computat Sci/Robotic(MS)M
MMS.CSR.APSDSMT Comp Sci/Robotic-Acc(MS)M
MMS.CVESDSMT Civil/Environ Engr (MS)M
MMS.CVE.APSDSMT Civil/Envir Engr Acc(MS)M
MMS.EESDSMT Electrical Engr (MS)M
MMS.EE.APSDSMT Electrical Engr Acc (MS)M
MMS.EMGSDSMT Engr Management (MS)M
MMS.EMG.APSDSMT Engr Management Acc (MS)M
MMS.GEEMS in Geological EngineeringM
MMS.GELMS in GeologyM
MMS.GGESDSMT Geology/Geolog Engr (MS)M
MMS.GGE.APSDSMT Geol/Geol Engr Acc (MS)M
MMS.MESDSMT Mechanic Engineering(MS)M
MMS.ME.APSDSMT Mechanical Engr Acc (MS)M
MMS.MEMSDSMT Mining Engr/Mgmt (MS)M
MMS.MEM.APSDSMT Mine Engr/Mgmt Acc (MS)M
MMS.MESSDSMT Materials Engr/Sci (MS)M
MMS.MINSDSMT Mining Engineering (MS)M
MMS.MTHMS in MathematicsM
MMS.MTLMS Metallurgical EngineeringM
MMS.MTOMS in MeteorologyM
MMS.NANSDSMT Nanosci/Engineering (MS)M
MMS.PALSDSMT Paleontology (MS)M
MMS.PAL.APSDSMT Paleontology Acc (MS)M
MMS.RIAMS Robotics/Intelli Auto SysM
MMS.TGMMS in Tech MngtM
MPHD.AESSDSMT Atmos/Envir Sci (PhD)M
MPHD.AEWPHD Atmos Env/Water ResourcesM
MPHD.ATRPHD in Atmospheric ResourcesM
MPHD.BMESDSMT Biomed Engineering (PhD)M
MPHD.CBESDSMT Chemical/Biol Engr (PhD)M
MPHD.CVESDSMT Civil/Environ Engr (PhD)M
MPHD.EEPHD in Electrical EngineeringM
MPHD.EVRPHD in Environmental ResourcesM
MPHD.GEEPHD in Geological EngineeringM
MPHD.GGESDSMT Geology/Geolog Engr(PhD)M
MPHD.MESDSMT Mechanical Engr (PhD)M
MPHD.MESSDSMT Materials Engr/Sci (PhD)M
MPHD.MTOPHD in MeteorologyM
MPHD.NANSDSMT Nanoscience/Engr (PhD)M
MPHD.WRPHD in Water ResourcesM
MSPEC.SPCNot Seeking a Degree – UGM
MSPECG.SPCNot Seeking a Degree – GRM

Abbreviations and Acronyms

Avoid using abbreviations and acronyms unless they are universally recognized, such as FBI, GPA, NASA, and ROTC.

When using an acronym that may be unfamiliar, spell it out in full the first time it is mentioned, with the acronym following in parentheses; thereafter, use the acronym alone. Be mindful of your audience; try to avoid using too many acronyms in any one piece.

Department of Energy (DoE), Department of Defense (DOD), National Science Foundation (NSF)

Note: In Chicago style, do not use periods in abbreviations that appear in full capitals: VP, CEO, MD, US, NY, IL.

Numbers, Dates, and Times

Consistency and Flexibility

Where many numbers occur within a paragraph or a series of paragraphs, maintain consistency in the immediate context. If according to rule you must use numerals for one of the numbers in a given category, use them for all in that category.


When a month is used with a specific date, abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. The month is never abbreviated when standing alone in running text. When a phrase refers to a month, day and year, set off the year with commas, e.g. Aug. 20, 1964,

When referencing a span of years, use a hyphen and drop the first two numbers of the second year, e.g. 2008-13.

Fiscal Year

The fiscal year is July 1-June 30. When referring to a specific fiscal year, an abbreviation with the year immediately following should be used with no space in between, e.g. FY13.


Use the dollar sign and numbers. Do not use a decimal and two zeros. Ex: $50 Use the comma in dollar amounts in the thousands. Ex: $5,000

For dollar amounts beyond thousands, use the dollar sign, number and appropriate word. Ex: $23 billion


AP: Spell out one through nine. Starting with 10, use figures.

Chicago: Spell out numbers through one hundred; twenty-one through ninety-nine are hyphenated; others open.

Number plus noun: a hundred-meter race; a 250-page book; a five-foot-ten quarterback
Exception: number plus abbreviation: 33 m distance; 3 ft. high wall, etc.


AP: Use symbol – 50% or 5%

Chicago: Use word (except for scientific or statistical copy, then use %) 50 percent, a 10 percent raise

Telephone Numbers

In graphical material, such as marketing brochures, it is acceptable to use periods to separate elements of a telephone number. In running text dashes should be used to separate parts of the number.

Graphical materials: 605.394.2414
Running text: 605-394-2414


AP and Chicago: Use figures, except for noon (12 p.m.) and midnight (12 a.m.). Use a colon to separate hours from minutes. Do not use: 00. Use periods with a.m. and p.m. and a space after the numeral.

11 a.m. or 4:15 p.m.
From noon to 1 p.m. (use “to” when the phrase includes “from”) 1-3 p.m. or 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Note: With AP, use hyphen; with Chicago, use en dash in between times

1-2 p.m. versus 1–2 p.m.

Physical and Chemical Terms

Chemical names and symbols: water, H2O; ozone, O3

Physical Quantities

General Contexts

General Contexts: In nontechnical material, physical quantities such as distance, lengths, areas, etc., are treated according to the general rule: Within fifteen minutes the temperature dropped twenty degrees (Chicago) or 20 degrees (AP). It is acceptable to depart from the general rule for quantities commonly expressed as numerals: a 40-watt bulb; a 32-inch inseam.

Whole Numbers Plus Fractions

May be spelled out if short, but are often better expressed in numerals: We walked for three and one-quarter miles or Jane is 5 feet 6¼ tall.


Oxford Comma

Use the Oxford comma in all content except news releases to media.

Em dash vs. En dash, Hyphen

AP: The en dash (–) is used to set off an amplifying or explanatory element and can function as an alternative to parentheses, commas, or a colon. Hyphens (-) are used to denote time ranges, e.g. 7-9 a.m.

Chicago: The en dash (–) is used in number ranges, i.e. dates, times, and page numbers, etc. (e.g. 1975–1982); and with campus locations (e.g. the University of Wisconsin–Madison). The em dash (—) is used to set off an amplifying or explanatory element.


Form plurals of the following by adding “s” alone: MAs, CDs, etc.

Technical Terms and Jargon

Avoid the use of technical terms and jargon whenever possible. If technical terms cannot be avoided, explain them briefly.

friction stir processing
laser powder deposition

Government Entities and Political Divisions

Words denoting political divisions—empire, republic, state, ward—are capitalized when they follow a name and are used as an accepted part of the name. When preceding the name, such terms are usually capitalized in names of countries but lowercased in entities below the national level. Used alone, they are usually lowercased.

New York City versus the city of New York; The Ottoman Empire versus the empire
the State of South Dakota

State Names

AP: Spell out the names when they stand alone in textual material. Otherwise, use the following abbreviations in the date line:


These eight states are not abbreviated in datelines or text: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas, and Utah.

Use the two-letter Postal Service abbreviations (with periods) only with full addresses, including ZIP code.

Chicago: In running text, the names of states, territories, and possessions of the United States should always be spelled out when standing alone and preferable (except for DC) when following the name of a city.

Omit periods when using two-letter Postal Service abbreviations in bibliographies, tabular matter, lists, and mailing addresses.

Compound Words and Hyphenated Words

Adverbs ending in ly plus a participle or adjective are not hyphenated: federally funded programs

Adverbs not ending in ly are hyphenated: a well-known author. Exceptions include compounds with more, most, less, least and very, unless ambiguity threatens: a more thorough exam

Note: the most skilled workers (most in number) vs. the most-skilled workers (most in ability)

Gender-neutral Language

Be sensitive to the implications of language. When possible, replace masculine pronouns with plural nouns, e.g. “Each student should hand in his paper on time,” may be written as “Students should hand in their papers on time.” Instead of “chairman,” consider using “chair.”

Word Choice

“More than” or “over” can be used with numerals.

More than 200 students graduated during the December commencement.
Over 500 people attended the Hardrocker football game.

Use fewer to describe number of items, less to describe quantity.